Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thoughts on a Sunday

Today is Sunday, a day of kicking the weekend in the butt and getting things accomplished that you were too lazy to do Saturday.  In Casa Swan those things would include: laundry, picking up thirty pounds of toys from the floor and vacuuming, and mentally psyching up to wake up and leave the house for the following 5 days in a row.  Today will also include some yummy extras, including a pot roast for dinner, and some baking action.

Today I'm proud because I have enough money to buy food for my family.  I work for a living, make a fair wage, and am able to plan meals for my family, whether they are homemade or not, so we can eat each night of  the week.  I'm lucky and blessed because Thad and I don't have to figure out which one of us goes without because we can afford to feed ourselves and our family.  Not every family in the world knows such blessings.

Angie posted about the hunger she has seen in Africa as part of Blog Action Day, and the topic of this global blog community's focus this year is food, and it's absence in the lives of our neighbors, on this continent and all over the globe.  

I've never known real hunger.  My parents, even when they struggled to pay their bills and keep food on the table, did not ever have to put their kids to bed hungry because they couldn't feed them.   My kids don't know hunger more severe than when dinner is later after on a night after mommy and daddy both worked all day.  This seems normal, but it's actually pretty luxurious compared to working parents all over the world.

As Americans we've become jaded to what happens in other parts of the world, because in our communities and our lives hunger isn't as prevalent and visible.  It's not that it isn't there, but you sometimes have to squint to see it because we've lost our ability to recognize need, and in some ways we've become more selfish as a society with what we feel we owe those less fortunate.  The homeless must have "done" something to be that way, is what I think a lot of people think when they see folks at red lights and interstate exits with signs asking for help.  But you don't have to be homeless to be hungry.  There are plenty of folks that live in homes that still have difficulty affording nutritious food to feed their family.

Today, as I'm cooking and cleaning and folding and, finally, eating, I will be giving thanks that I live a life that allows me little luxuries like McDonald's french fries and cheap red wine.  I am thankful that the hunger I feel is easily remedied, and thankful that my kids can feel secure in where there next meal is coming from.  I will be thankful that the greatest hardship I face regarding food is getting my husband to just pick something out of the dinner options we normally have available, instead of making me pick something every night.

When you can, donate to your local food bank.  Find out if there is a program in your area for assisting local seniors with meals.  Or don't do anything at all, but at the very least, BE THANKFUL.

A few excellent quotes on the subject of gratitude:
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.  ~G.K. Chesterton

There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude.  It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance.  ~Joseph Addison 

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.  ~Aldous Huxley

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  ~William Arthur Ward
And in the spirit of gratitude, thank you to Angie for taking part in Blog Action Day, and if any of you readers have a gratitude to share, do it in the comments!  

Thursday, October 13, 2011


My good friend Angie is living in Sierra Leone, which is a pretty BA part of the world.  She's pretty much an authentic pioneer woman, a trailblazer in my opinion, and she has had a pretty outrageous bought with malaria recently.  Via her writing I get to live something through someone I care about, with them.  Even if I don't get to see her daily I get to hear her voice in her writing, and her's is a voice I greatly enjoy.

In her last two most recent posts (#1 here , #2 here) she gives a pretty engaging blow by blow with an almost Dan-Brown-esque series of events that had you eagerly reading to see how it ended.  After reading through the 2nd post I was struck by a powerful sense of gratitude.  Gratitude that I live in a place that makes healthcare available to my family less than 2 blocks from where we live.  Gratitude that I work for an employer that offers me affordable heath benefits and an on-site clinic.  And gratitude for the company that I work for, for providing employers with affordable options for their employee's health benefit plans.

I hope everyone that reads my blog takes a detour over to Angie's and checks out her story.  I encourage everyone I know to not close your eyes to what is going on in other parts of the world, Africa or otherwise.  Whether it's malaria or access to prenatal and maternity care, there are issues that we should make ourselves aware of because whether they are issues for us, our neighbors, or people across a vast ocean, they are issues that impact humanity as a whole.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Silent Protest

I'd like to protest the pro-life protesters, the ones that sit outside Planned Parenthood for 40 days at a time and kneel like they're doing penance for the poor heathens using the clinic. My protest would be based on how many of those protestors have made room in their own home and hearts for a child in need of foster care or adoption. It's easy to be against something when you also don't have to fight for all the children that didn't have a choice in the matter. Thad told me what I would put on a picket sign would be to much to print in a large enough font for someone to get the point while driving past. So instead of standing beside those nasty protestors I'm just going to cyber protest.  Like so:

There, I feel much better taking a cyber-stand for something that has been bugging me for at least a week.

And for the record, since I'm sure one or two people that read my blog will probably be appalled that I take pro-choice stance, let me be clear:  I'm not pro-abortion.  I'm pro-sex education.  I'm pro-teaching teenagers about sex and its repercussions instead of telling them to wait until they are married.  And I'm actually in favor of taking action against some individuals that think that having a set of reproductive organs gives them a free account for making as many babies as they like without the means to care for them.

Maybe it's a bit liberal and progressive, but whatever has been happening in our culture that has led to the glamorization of "Teen Moms" is exactly why that Planned Parenthood is needed and necessary.  And why I think they should feed birth control through water fountains in public high schools across the nation.  Vote Swan, 2020!

Birthday Blog for John John!

From September 2011
Flashback: October 12, 1988

I was a second grader when my brother, John, was born.  I was in Mr. Oxford's class, and my mom had been working a long time to have one more baby after having my sister and I, and after trying and trying she'd gotten pregnant and (I think) she knew she was having a boy.  If she didn't know she was sure hoping against hope for one.

So while I'm at school I get called to the office because my mom is on her way to have her baby in Miles City.  My sister and I spend the night with one of my mom's friends, and we heard the answering machine message telling us we had a new little brother.  His name was John Wade.  6lbs, 12 oz, 19 inches of raw man power.... in baby form.

My brother is 8 years my junior, so I've had a lot of fun in my formative years picking on him, but I also consider him one of my best friends.  For all the faults I can point out (and as the oldest sibling, I am allowed to point out as many as necessary), I can show you equally how many amazing qualities he has.  Musician, athlete, whatever he sets his mind to he achieves.  Except vacuuming :)

So this blog post goes out to you, Nicholai, you beautiful beast, you.  You make me laugh hysterically, and you also elicit fits of black-out rage, but in either scenario I know you know that I know how special you are.  I love you, I hope you have a wonderful birthday, and I plan to make you a pan of something delicious after your big fight this month.  If anyone is interested in seeing some grown men roll around half naked on the floor beating the crap out of each other, CLICK THAT LINK!

Happy birthday, John!!!!!! These are two of the best pictures I have of John. The girl with him is his girlfriend Cricket. I pretty much love her!
From September 2011
Trying not to crack up, American Gothic style
From September 2011
Couldn't keep from smiling

Friday, October 7, 2011

Boobs Voyage!

I am happy to report that my surgery has been deemed medically necessary and is scheduled to happen on 11/16/11. 

I would also like to report, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is released on 11/11/11. 

It's the the perfect storm of awesomeness.  My beloved children will be gone and I'll have nothing but time to play video games.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sick day

It's a sick day in Casa de la Swan today.  Elora's got a case of the pukes, poor baby. It's a powerless feeling to have a kid feeling icky.  All I can do is make her comfy, snuggle her, and try to keep her happy. Somedays I need these mom experiences because I get to show her how much I love her.  I tell her I love her everyday, but I remember my mom when I didn't feel good, making cinnamon toast and watching tv, and even though I didn't feel good I appreciated having mom's undivided attention.  Colter B is staying home just in case he gets the late onset pukes.

Colter was his own brand of "sick" this morning, which didn't involve illness so much as it was sick-in-the-head.  He climbed into my bed around 3:30 and proceeded to blast me with the heat from his little body until I removed him an hour later.  This kid is HOT.  When I tried to convince him to go back to sleep he ignored me and started playing with his noisiest toys.  Of course. 
So Thad is going to work (after a 7-Up run) and I'm staying home with chitlins.  I'm glad I didn't play hooky last week when I had considered calling off for the first time in the 15+ months I've worked there.  Deep down, I knew something like this would happen.

We spent last weekend in Colstrip, just the kids and I.  I spent some much needed together time with my mom and dad, and spent a lot of time with Colter B while Elora stayed with Thad's folks and her cousin Sophia.  Sophia became a big sister last week to a new cygnet (look it up) who goes by the name Desmond Link.  I got to meet the little spud on Sunday and he is just perfect. 

My next post is going to shake things up around this boring old patch of internet space.  Stay tuned!